Robins Theatre

166 E. Market Street,
Warren, OH 44481

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Robins Theatre

The Robins Theatre in Warren, Ohio opened its doors on January 9, 1923. Designed by C. Howard Crane and I.J. Goldston and constructed by Charles Shutrump and Sons. Co of Youngstown, construction began in 1922 at a cost of $300,000.

The exterior is in the Italian Renaissance style, while the interior is in the Adam style. The interior boasts Vermont marble columns, grand staircases, an ornate ceiling resembling the night sky, and large window-shaped grilles which once housed the pipes for the theatre’s organ. The orchestra floor seats 1,100, and the mezzanine seats 400, totalling 1,500 seats. The stage was once used for vaudeville productions, and could be converted from motion pictures to live theatre performances in 24 hours.

The Robins Theatre, along with several other area theatres, including the Ohio (former Duchess Theatre) [demolished] and the Daniel Theatre [converted into gymnasium] were controlled by The Robins Theatre Enterprises Co. Daniel J. Robins was founder and president, in partnership with his brothers Ben and David Robins. Daniel Robins was an earlier partner of Abe Warner of Warner Brothers. David Robins was later to marry Ann Warner. Many famous personalities have appeared at the theatre over the years. The Brown Derby Cellar Bar and Restaurant was a once a local showplace for famous Big Bands.

The theatre remained in continuous operation fron 1923 to 1974, when its doors were permanently closed. The theatre remains almost completely original; however, thirty years of vacancy and disrepair have taken their toll, as is evident from peeling paint and crumbling plaster. Plans to completely renovate the theatre have been under discussion for several years. Preliminary plans are currently being made, however the renovation process is pending upon further funding.

In December 2017 the building was sold to Downtown Development Group LLC with plans to renovate and present concerts, comedy and film performances.

Contributed by Nathaniel A. Riggle

Recent comments (view all 33 comments)

DwarfDog on August 29, 2006 at 1:15 am

This is a C. Howard Crane, Architect building….Crane was an understudy of the great architect Albert Kahn…..he is credited with the Allen THeater in Cleveland and the recently purchased Liberty/Paramount THeater in Youngstown

BALLETTEACHER on December 18, 2006 at 11:29 pm

I wish there was enough funds for packard music hall and the robins theater. packard is great for large venues as well as the new amphitheater on mahoning avenue, but wouldn’t it be great to see that robins theater marquee up in lights again on east market!!

zofko on March 21, 2008 at 2:05 am

I am 72 years old and can remember many grand times at the Robins or one of the other 4 theaters in Warren during my youth. It’s a shame Warren can come up with money for a Riverwalk (which i would be afraid to be on after dark), an Ampitheather which has been a total bust, and a Packard Auto Musuem which replace a swimming pool that the city could not longer aford to maintain but can maintain the musuem which is a year round situation. The glory that was once Warren is long gone and will never be replaced. I am glad I am as old as I am because I would not want to live and see what is going to happen to Warren in years to come. Zofko

Mark_L on December 29, 2011 at 12:03 am

The picture from kencmcintyre from 3/19/10 is likely from 1952 or 1953, judging from release dates of movies shown on the marquee.

wolfgirl500 on February 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Students from New York’s New School of Design were in to see about restoring this theater according to WKBN-TV News.

DavidZornig on August 26, 2017 at 1:16 am

Facebook link to a 1854 photo.

RickB on December 29, 2017 at 11:22 pm

Theater has been sold to Downtown Development Group LLC; they plan to renovate and present concerts, comedy shows and movies. Tribune Chronicle story here.

wolfgirl500 on February 7, 2018 at 11:52 am

thom5340 on May 20, 2018 at 3:24 am

I’m sorry to report that the Robins Theatre WILL NOT have a Theatre Pipe Organ installed. I offered to donate an original pipe organ to the theatre and the Development group informed me that they were not interested. If anyone knows of a theatre that wants a pipe organ, I have at least one to donate. You can contact me at 330-792-1321. Thom.

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